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Johnson Law Group Attorneys Obtain Defense Verdict in Premises Liability Claim

Jeffrey W. Johnson and Timothy F. Malin of the Johnson Law Group obtained a defense verdict after a seven day trial in the premises liability case styled Selma and Melvin Lustgarten v. A Latte Fun Indoor Playground and Cafe, LLC, pending before the Honorable Robert Rosenberg in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida.

The Plaintiff, Selma Lustgarten, slipped and fell on the vinyl flooring in the subject premises while wearing only socks. She claimed that despite actual knowledge that patrons regularly wore only socks in the areas with vinyl flooring, and knowledge that the vinyl flooring was slippery when traversed in only socks, the Defendant failed to have or enforce a rule or policy requiring patrons to wear shoes in the areas with vinyl flooring and failed to warn that the vinyl flooring was slippery when traversed in only socks.

As a result, the Plaintiff sustained a compression fracture to the superior endplate of the T-12 vertebral body. The Plaintiff alleged that she also suffered injury to her lumbar spine resulting in severe low back pain which required ongoing treatment by orthopedic and pain management specialists. Her husband claimed loss of consortium.

With regard to liability, the defense argued that the floor was clean, dry and free from defect or foreign substance at the time of the fall. The flooring was commercial grade vinyl recommended by a design team for the premises consisting of an architect, engineer and interior designer as being appropriate for the particular intended use by the Defendant. There had been no prior slip and falls on the vinyl flooring and the flooring was not slippery. The true cause of the Plaintiff’s fall was her act of lunging to grab a door that she perceived was going to catch a child’s hand.

With regard to causation, the defense argued that the compression fracture healed without specific treatment and without residual symptoms. The abnormalities in the lumbar spine were degenerative and clearly pre-existing. MRI evaluation showed that the pre-existing condition did not progress and was therefore not aggravated by the fall. Accordingly, any lumbar symptoms and subsequent treatment were unrelated.

The jury returned a verdict of no liability after two hours of deliberations.

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Johnson Law Group's Jeff Johnson speaks at Claims & Litigation Management Alliance conference.


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